Uncut - 09/01/2004
"[A] searching, intelligent and ultimately very moving film."
Premiere - 10/01/2004
"[A]n involving, lyrical, and visually beautiful..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/01/2004
"[A] gorgeously shot South American road movie..."
Rolling Stone - 10/01/2004
"[M]esmerizing....A good part of the film's power is the way it sneaks up on you."
New York Times - 09/24/2004
"What THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES captures, with startling clarity and delicacy, is the quickening of Ernesto's youthful idealism, and the gradual turning of his passionate, literary nature toward an as yet unspecified form of radical commitment."
Los Angeles Times - 09/24/2004
"This might be the quietest, most meditative motorcycle movie ever made."
In 1952, a young medical student and a biochemist from Argentina set off on a road trip across South America. As they straddled their beaten up motorcycle, the men talked in awed tones of the sights they were about to experience. The record of their trip may have disappeared into the ether if one of the riders departing on that fateful day hadn't been the future insurrectionary figurehead of the Cuban revolution, Ernesto "Che" Guevara (played here by Gael Garcia Bernal). The young Che's companion on the trip was his best friend, Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna), with their simple goals being to enjoy themselves, and meet some girls along the way. As the trip unfolds at the behest of their spluttering motorcycle, the boys discover more about themselves than they ever imagined possible. Ernesto clings tightly to his ideals throughout, and delights in the opportunity to put them into practice. His refusal to spend the $20 provided by his girlfriend, Chichina Ferreyra (Mia Maestro), constantly angers his travelling companion as the two succumb to pangs of hunger. Ernesto's charitable nature comes to the fore when he reveals that he gave the money to a pair of out-of-work illegal immigrants. The trip winds down as the friends offer their medical expertise to a leper colony in Peru, with the duo's youthful folly acquiescing to adulthood, and the dawning realization of where they should head in life.
Based on the books THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (by Guevara) and TRAVELLING WITH CHE GUEVARA (by Granado), director Walter Salles (CENTRAL STATION) pulls some highly accomplished performances from his two leads. The South American landscape is breathtakingly captured on camera, with Salles vividly reproducing a continent beleaguered by poverty and disease, but containing a population in possession of an unshakeable sense of optimism, as beautifully personified by Guevara and Granado.
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